Countdown To 2012 Africa Cup Of Nations: Kola Beefs Up Zambia


Israel-based striker Rodger Kola is expected to beef up the Zambia soccer team, the Chipolopolo, currently shaping up in South Africa ahead of this month 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Midfielder Justin Zulu, who plays for LeZion also in Israel, has also been in camp, completing the foreign legion of players called up in the provisional 26-member squad that saw William Njobvu, of Hapoel Ironi Shmona of Israel, ruled out with injury.

Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) communications manager, Erick Mwanza said in a statement that Kola, who features for AS Ashdod, will join the squad at the Milpark Garden Court Hotel.

Mwanza said the team that had set up training base in Johannesburg have intensified their preparations ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations finals that kick off on 21 January.

He said coach Herve Renard has expressed happiness with the commitment of the squad, spirit of competition among the players, their hard work and sacrifice.

Mwanza said Renard is elated and strongly believes his squad would be ready come 21 January, adding that the team are enjoying good health and there are no reports of any new injuries except for the injured duo of James Chamanga and Thomas Nyirenda.

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He said the two players are making remarkable progress and recovering well and that the medical staff will by the end of the week assess them.

Mwanza said the medical staff would advise whether Chamanga and Nyirenda could make complete recovery and return to full-team training next week so that the coach can consider them for selection in his final 23.

Mwanza said Renard will name his final 23 man squad on 10 January and submit the list to CAF on the same day.

On the preparatory matches, Mwanza said FAZ is still having talks with other countries and that there is progress in consultations with Namibia, Kenya and a West African nation and the association has penciled 14 January for the team final preparatory match.

He said details of friendly matches would be communicated once agreements are concluded.

The Chipolopolo continue training from their base till 17 January when they are scheduled to fly out to Equatorial Guinea in time for the tournament opener against Senegal on 21 January in Bata.

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